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Poster: markduffer Date: Jan 10, 2007 4:15pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Who Was John?

Just listening to JGB 2-21-76 (great show)but not familiar with this tune. Anyone care to shed some light on what the hell Jerry is singing about? Who wrote the lyrics, not Hunter I presume.

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Poster: markduffer Date: Jan 10, 2007 6:37pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Who Was John?

I'm back. Jerry Played two shows that night. Catfish John and Who was John? are two separate songs.Old_NJ_Head_Zimmer explanations seems plausibe as he sings about a writer.

Thanks all

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Poster: Olo Date: Jan 11, 2007 3:51am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Who Was John?

"Who Was John?" can be found on the Keith and Donna studio lp released by the GD's Round Records subsidiary.
Jerry plays on many of the cuts including that one.
Terrific song and can be found as filler on the many tapes I dubbed for friends.

Mule's song is a variation.

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Poster: rastamon Date: Jan 11, 2007 6:25am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Who Was John?

If Who WAS John, then who is who??

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Poster: rastamon Date: Jan 10, 2007 5:35pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Who Was John?

Catfish John was a river hobo
Lived and died by the river's bend >>


plain and simple, A RIVER HOBO


This post was modified by rastamon on 2007-01-11 01:35:40

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Poster: tigerbolt Date: Jan 10, 2007 4:53pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Who Was John?

it's a old gospel tune,here's a link to the lyrics,it's about john the baptist http://www3.clearlight.com/~acsa/introjs.htm?/~acsa/songfile/WHOWASJ.HTM

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Poster: LibraryChick Date: Jan 10, 2007 5:00pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Who Was John?

No - this is about John - on of the 12 apolstles - he wrote the book of John (4th book of New Testement) and the book of Revelation (no 'S'). John the Baptist was a man who 'preached' down by the river Jordan - and who baptised Jesus after his return from the wilderness.

The John that this song is referring to is the writer/apostle John - also known as John the Beloved.

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Poster: Ssag Date: Jan 10, 2007 5:21pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Who Was John?

I dont want to be accused of bashing anyone because I am not in anyway shape or form trying to do that but the lyrics you posted here are not the ones sung on any versions I have of Jerry doing it. You may have a version that I havent heard yet so, you could be right also. That said the lyrics I posted seem to be closer to what Jerry sings on the version I have.

However, Jerry's version seems to be combining four differant ones into his own. So this song may have a thousand different meanings but it all boils down into one great song no matter how you cut it.

The version I am listening to currently as from 2-11-1976 La Paloma Theatre in its almost a carbon copy to the lyrics I posted.

This post was modified by Ssag on 2007-01-11 01:21:05

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Poster: Ssag Date: Jan 10, 2007 5:00pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Who Was John?

Well theres diffinately a few versions out there so before you think I am completely crazier then eveyone already does with my last post here's another example of lyrics which completely different from what you posted. There are many versions is why I think its more of a traditional.

Catfish John

Mama said, "Don't go near that river,
Don't be hanging around old Catfish John."
Come in the morning I'd always be there,
Walking in his footsteps in the sweet Delta dawn.

Take me back to another morning, to a time so long ago,
When the sweet magnolia blossomed, cotton fields as white as snow.

Catfish John was a river hobo who lived and died by the river's bed,
Looking back I still remember I was proud to be his friend.

Mama said, "Don't go near that river,
Don't be hanging around old Catfish John."
Come in the morning I'd always be there,
Walking in his footsteps in the sweet Delta dawn.

Born a slave in the town of Vicksburg, traded for a chestnut mare,
Lord her never spoke in anger though his load was hard to bear.

Mama said, "Don't go near that river,
Come in the morning I'd always be there,
Walking in his footsteps in the sweet Delta dawn.
Walking in his footsteps in the sweet Delta dawn.

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Poster: SDH2O Date: Jan 10, 2007 5:47pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Who Was John?

Old blues/gospel song by the immortal Son House:

Well, whos that ridin, john the revelator
Tell me whos the ridin, john the revelator
Tell me whos that ridin, john the revelator
Wrote the book of the seventh seal

Well, God walked down in the cool of the day
And he called adam by his name
He refused to answer
cause he was naked and ashamed

Tell me whos that ridin, john the revelator
Tell me whos there ridin, john the revelator
Tell me whos there ridin, john the revelator
Wrote the book of the seventh seal

Well, christ had twelve apostles
And he led twelve away
Said walk with me one hour til
I go on and pray.

Tell me whos that ridin, john the revelator
Tell me whos that ridin, john the revelator
Tell me whos that ridin, john the revelator
Wrote the book of the seventh seal

Christ came down easter mornin
Mary and martha came to see
Said, go tell my disciples
Meet me down in galilee

Tell me whos that ridin, john the revelator, etc.

(--son house)

Gov't Mule did an amazing rendition with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band in New Orleans (on the Deepest End DVD)

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Poster: BryanE Date: Jan 10, 2007 5:58pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Who Was John?

Son House was The Man!

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Poster: tigerbolt Date: Jan 10, 2007 6:20pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Who Was John?

http://db.etree.org/shows_showreviews.php?shows_key=13236

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Poster: paint-picker Date: Jan 11, 2007 4:39am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Who Was John?

Just checked out www.thejerrysite.com and Who Was John was performed 26 times, all of them in 1976. It also gives all the dates if anyone is looking to seach out any of the other performances.

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Poster: Ssag Date: Jan 10, 2007 4:56pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Who Was John?

Well its been covered by blues, bluegrass and country singers. Its mostly credited to Bob McDill and Allen Reynolds but I think with some deeper digging its most likely a traditional. The song refered to is Pittsburg is a small town in Tishomingo County, Mississippi in the north hill country there. Whats funny is the song also has references to cotton fields and there isnt very many there that I saw.
Most blues guys when they wrote songs back then it was always in reference to sex or female body parts almost exclusively. They hide the real meanings in metaphors to hide the meaning and to avoid the wrath of the towns' preacher. I have a feeling this song is refering to a that theme of sex. At least when I have heard the bluesmen play it down there thats what they are talking about.

*note there are three different versions of the song with Pittsburg, Vicksburg and Richmond mentions in it that I have heard but the one I hear the most has Pittsburg used in it and why I rambled on about the Pittsburg one.*

This post was modified by Ssag on 2007-01-11 00:56:19

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Poster: Old_NJ_Head_Zimmer Date: Jan 10, 2007 4:58pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Who Was John?

Not John the Baptist - John the writer of Revelations - It is a different John. The song is mostly about his divine writing of Revelations.

Folks - He is not talking about the song Catfish John

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Poster: rastamon Date: Jan 10, 2007 5:27pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Who Was John?

The thread title say's "Who is John"!! so i assume he's talking about the song, Catfish John... No? zim- then who?
btw, what happened to the poster, markduffer, kinda disappeared, aye? troll?

02/21/76 (Sat) La Paloma Theater - Encinitas, CA

Set 1: The Way You Do the Things You Do, CATFISH JOHN, A Strange Man, The Harder They Come, Mission in the Rain, My Sisters and Brothers, After Midnight, Moonlight Mile, How Sweet It Is, E: Talkin' 'Bout You

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Poster: BryanE Date: Jan 10, 2007 6:01pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Who Was John?

Where IS that markduffer?

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Poster: Ssag Date: Jan 10, 2007 5:46pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Who Was John?

Man this is turning into a Abbott and Costello skit. Who's on first??

Who was John? or Who was Catfish John?

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Poster: rastamon Date: Jan 10, 2007 5:53pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Who Was John?

too simple- like the song says, Catfish John was a river hobo. That's who

DUH!

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Poster: Ssag Date: Jan 10, 2007 5:50pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Who Was John?

The rest of the set list on 2-21-1976 I have does have "Who was John" on it along with "Catfish John".

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Poster: rastamon Date: Jan 10, 2007 5:57pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Who Was John?

mine has the 2nd encore listed as What's on second...

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Poster: Ssag Date: Jan 10, 2007 6:02pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Who Was John?

really mine has "I dont know on third"

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Poster: Ssag Date: Jan 10, 2007 5:27pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Who Was John?

Hahahaha I am dumb ass.....Yeah okay blow everything off I wrote......I read the first two posts in front of my post and was thrown.

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Poster: BryanE Date: Jan 10, 2007 5:35pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Who Was John?

By the way, markduffer, although I'm not a veteran here, I don't recognize your name. Are you new? After all this confusing shit about Catfish John, will you be staying with us anyway?

Thanks, tigerbolt, for posting the link to Who was John? That is a great song, and obviously easily confused with the song in question because of the wording of the query.

And while we're at it, how aboout Blind John on Mickey's Rolling Thunder album. Nothing to do with the other, except that it's about some dude named John, but still another terrific offshoot Dead song.

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Poster: BryanE Date: Jan 10, 2007 5:26pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Who Was John?

Yep.

I'm a dork.

Something in my head said it was a Hunter/Garcia tune, and that something was wrong. Need to quit listening to those voices.

This post was modified by BryanE on 2007-01-11 01:00:37

This post was modified by BryanE on 2007-01-11 01:26:31